Development communication – that’s what CFA does.
Our first manager, the late Genaro V. Ong, Jr, set the framework for CFA’s work in development communication, describing it as “an educational process aimed at developing social consciousness, personal responsibility towards one’s fellowmen, one’s community and country. In other words, a social conscience … Education is the key; communication is the tool.”
Development communication, he stressed, “should seek to elicit a human, and ultimately, a social response in the people whom it seeks to serve. Serve, not mold or manipulate, as if people were putty in the hands of the communicator.”
By development, we mean TOTAL human development – social, economic, cultural, political, spiritual. This is reflected in the CFA vision, which strives towards the integral development of people through innovative learning processes using media technology and other forms of communication.
“We serve God through media”. This was how CFA stated its purpose in the 1980s.
This evolved from CFA’s own history as a communication organization founded by a missionary as well as from its many years of experience in producing materials for Christian education.
CFA pursues its mission through an integrated communication program founded on Christian values. This involves reflection and action, education and advocacy, media production and training, projects and services. As one project partner once said, CFA might as well stand for Community of Faith in Action.
CFA’S PRIORITY THEMES
In its annual Strategic Planning meetings, CFA confirmed its three priority development themes.
Citizenship education is essentially training and motivating people to become good citizens—not just of the country, but of the human race. CFA believes that developing a sense of identity, respect for human rights, love of country and community, and social awareness helps build good citizens and responsible persons. Inspiring and empowering Filipinos to get involved in community affairs and national issues is basic to development communication. Some of CFA’s projects that focus on citizenship education are the Voters’ Education program, the projects on anti-corruption and good governance, the Interfaith Peace Camps for Youth and networking with women’s media groups.
CFA is convinced that poverty alleviation should address not just hunger, homelessness or lack of basic services, but more importantly powerlessness, oppression and lack of freedom. Sadly, countless citizens are still passive or indifferent to poverty, its social, economic and moral implications. There is an imperative to break inaction. CFA has partnered with Pondo ng Pinoy, the poverty alleviation and pastoral program of the Archdiocese of Manila, to push the advocacy forward. CFA is creating a multimedia package to boost Pondo ng Pinoy’s information campaign. On its own, CFA is also working on a video documentary on poverty.
In upholding the integrity of creation, CFA subscribes to the concept of “sustainable development”. It is development that allows the provision of today’s needs without compromising the future. In 2005 CFA launched the Coffeehouse Environmental Series to address the growing concerns on the environment. The Coffeehouse Forum continues to serve as a venue for discussion of various environmental issues, including air pollution, saving the forests, rivers, solid waste management, endangered species and mining. It participates in an environmental network through which advocacies are shared and pursued.
CFA’s first 3-year Peace Communication initiative includes a Peace Camp with Christian and Muslim Youth in 2006, workshops, video production, forums and a nationwide exhibit of the participants’ artwork in 2007-08. “Dear Peace”, a video documentary on how the high school participants developed friendship and mutual understanding despite religious and cultural differences, has been shown in various schools all over the country. A second Peace Camp was held in 2009, to be followed by workshops, video documentaries and a travelling exhibit.
MEDIA PROGRAM FOR CITIZENSHIP EDUCATION
After completing a three-year program on voters’ education, CFA has undertaken a follow-up three-year multi-media program on good governance. The first program included conferences and consultations, video documentaries, a 3-part TV series and printed manuals, with PPCRV (Parish-Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting) as main partner. The second program includes a youth summit, a national songwriting contest, printed manuals, video documentaries and internet blog, with PPCRV and CEAP as main partners.
MEDIA TRAINING SERIES
CFA Training Center holds various workshops on media for diocesan media directors, MSC clergy and pastoral workers using its own media facilities, following a series of grants from Aid to the Church in Need, SIGNIS and Missie Procuur in the Netherlands. The workshops include Web Design and Development, Linux, Making Effective Powerpoint Presentations, Video Production, Flash Animation and Community Radio.
GOSPEL KOMIKS TV SERIES
Gospel Komiks, CFA’s regular publication for elementary and high school students, now has a TV version: Gospel Komiks—The TV Series. It is broadcast over TV Maria, the Catholic Channel that is a part of the Dream Satellite package. Gospel Komiks features inspirational contemporary stories and illustrations based on the Sunday Gospels. The 30-minute weekly TV Series dramatizes the illustrations and expands on it through a forum where a teacher or religious leader discusses reflections and lessons on the show, together with students and other young people.
COFFEEHOUSE ENVIRONMENTAL SERIES
This is a monthly public forum on pressing environmental issues, aimed at making young people aware of their role in sustainable development. A guest resource person speaks on a particular topic at each forum, including air and water pollution, climate change, renewable energy, sustainable mining, forest conservation, solid waste management, green architecture and others.
VIDEO DOCUMENTARY ON PHILIPPINE POVERTY
The first part of the documentary examines the roots and impact of poverty in the Philippines, while the other discusses prospective solutions to this perennial scourge.
CFA TRAINING CENTER
The CFA Training Center was established to impart the experiences that CFA has accumulated over years of devcom work. This Center demonstrates to development workers the effective application of media in various fields — including community building, non-formal education, and advocacy. CFA can design generic courses so that skills and knowledge gained from the Center could easily be applied to any development activity, in any setting, for any audience.
CFA has audio-video studios, a library, chapel, guest rooms, dormitories and training facilities such as a computer laboratory, auditorium, seminar and training rooms and cafeteria services for live-in and non-residential seminars or retreats.